U of M celebrates investments in world-class undergraduate chemistry facility
Today, the University of Minnesota and state officials will celebrate the official kickoff of the Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories project, which reimagines 95-year-old Fraser Hall on the University’s Twin Cities campus. Renovating and modernizing the outdated general and organic chemistry teaching and support spaces will transform chemistry education for more than 5,000 undergraduate students each semester and fuel Minnesota’s workforce.
“Any time state leaders invest in the U of M, they are making a high-return investment in Minnesota students and the future of our state’s workforce and economy,” said University of Minnesota Interim President Jeff Ettinger. “We are incredibly grateful for elected leaders who are making a commitment to all of Minnesota through the University — from the shovel-ready project that puts Minnesota companies and crews to work, to the generations of students who will use these new labs as they become Minnesota’s future chemists, chemical engineers, physicians, veterinarians, nurses, dentists, teachers, entrepreneurs and more.”
With early construction work on the project serving as a backdrop, Interim President Ettinger joins state officials and campus leaders, faculty and students at a program and reception celebrating the $92.6 million state capital investment made during the 2023 legislative session. Governor Tim Walz, Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan, Senate Minority Leader Mark Johnson, Senate Capital Investment Committee Chair Sandy Pappas, Representative Mohamud Noor, College of Science and Engineering Dean Andrew Alleyne, and U of M student Elise Toussaint will speak as part of the event, highlighting the value of state investment in University infrastructure and the unparalleled education opportunities supported by this project.
“It's exciting that this day is finally here — I can remember how hesitant I felt as an incoming undergrad, but it was the energy and support from my classmates and teaching assistants in my first chemistry courses that helped propel me forward,” said Toussaint, a current U of M medical student. “These spaces are so critical to student success. It’s inspiring to think about how many students will make new discoveries and lasting connections to peers and mentors in spaces that truly reflect the world-class research and teaching that is synonymous with the University of Minnesota.”
Once completed, the updated facility will house 18 active learning labs; tutoring and informal student collaboration spaces; professional offices; general purpose classrooms; a new nuclear magnetic resonance space; and loading, storage and operational support spaces. Work on the building will also replace outdated mechanical, electrical and life safety systems. The project will also improve and consolidate spaces currently in Smith and Kolthoff Halls, allowing for more efficient use of teaching, research and office spaces.
The plans fully reimagine Fraser Hall, with over 117,000-square-feet that support a key part of the University’s core undergraduate curriculum. Students who will use the labs, academic support and collaborative learning spaces represent a wide range of majors — roughly one-third of all Twin Cities students will take chemistry and other courses in this building.
The project was made possible by an initial legislative investment in project design in 2020 and $92.6 million in 2023 capital funds. Through private philanthropy and other investments, the University will contribute the remaining funds for the $144.7 million project. The project is expected to take two years, with the renewed Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories fully opening for fall 2025 classes.
Access project and other updates, including a live webcam, at the official Project Website.